White House urges Karzai to promptly sign BSA
WASHINGTON(PAN): The White House Tuesday urged the Karzai Government to promptly sign the bilateral security agreement and warned that in the absence of it the United States would be left with no other option but to plan withdrawal of all its troops from Afghanistan after 2014.
“The fact is, everybody negotiated in good faith. There was an agreement. There was substantial support for that agreement in Afghanistan. And we believe it ought to be signed promptly,” the White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, told reporters at his daily news conference.
“Deferring the signature of the agreement until after next year's elections is not a viable option,” he said in response to a question.
“It would not provide the United States and our NATO allies the clarity necessary to plan for a potential post-2014 military presence, nor would it provide Afghans with the certainty they deserve regarding their future in the critical months preceding elections,” Carney said.
“Moreover, the lack of a signed bilateral security agreement would jeopardize NATO and other nations' pledges of assistance made at the Chicago and Tokyo conferences in 2012,” he said.
The National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, during her recent trip to Afghanistan reiterated that, without a prompt signature, the US would have no choice but to initiate planning for a post-2014 future in which there would be no US or NATO troop presence in Afghanistan. “We simply can't do it,” he asserted.
The State Department Deputy Spokesperson, Marie Harf, said Loya Jirga overwhelmingly supported the BSA, and now the US is waiting for a signature.
“We believe that deferring the signature of the agreement until after next year’s election or deferring it any longer just really isn’t viable. It wouldn’t provide the Afghans themselves the certainty they deserve regarding their own future, especially in the critical months leading up to the election,” she said.
“It also wouldn’t provide the US and our NATO allies that it wouldn’t provide us the clarity necessary to plan for a post-2014 military presence or footprint in the country. So we are hoping that we’ll get it signed as soon as possible and we’ll move forward from there,” Harf said.
Responding to questions, Harf said it is not necessary that the BSA be signed by Karzai himself. The Afghan President can designate someone for this task, she said. “Obviously, President Karzai is the one who’s been doing it, and we assume he’ll be the one signing it. But I think technically, a designee can sign it,” she said.
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